Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit



Orchestras and Musicians Stand with Ukraine

Within days of the first the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, support for the Ukrainian people fighting for their freedom began to ring out in performing arts venues worldwide. From the Ukrainian national anthem performed by the Metropolitan Opera and Orchestra while the opera house was lit up in blue and yellow, to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra recording and releasing a video performance of “Prayer for Ukraine,” musicians at countless AFM orchestras are using their art form to raise awareness and promote solidarity.

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San Antonio Musicians Continue Strike Amid Broken Negotiations

Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony continue their strike, pushing for a fair contract for 72 full-time musicians. The musicians, members of Local 23 (San Antonio, TX), went on strike September 27 in response to management’s imposed contract that reduced the number of full-time musicians and cut wages. They have rejected the symphony board’s last offer […]

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Gilbert Sedeño: Jazz Pianist Has Thrived on Variety

It seems surprising that Gilbert Sedeño, a kid from San Angelo, West Texas—country music territory—would grow up to be a formidable jazz pianist. Sedeño, a member (and also longtime board member) of Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) would agree. “My dad, uncle, and grandfather were migrant workers and played in a band that did a variety […]

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Heart Health: Stay in Tune with Your Heart

Heart disease is a broad term that covers a number of heart conditions. Among the most common are congenital heart disease (heart defects), coronary artery disease (CAD), arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat), and heart valve disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US—an alarming one in every four deaths to be exact. That’s about 610,000 people each year.

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The Five Biggest Tax Mistakes Musicians and Bands Make

by Alan Friedman, CPA, Partner, Friedman, Kannenberg & Company, P.C. As with most professions, there are two sides to the business of making music: the artist side and the business side. While most gigging musicians and bands possess the creative knowledge to make a living in the art of making music, some may lack the […]

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Fort Worth Theater Embroiled in Union Dispute

Members of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) held an informational leafleting on February 11, before the 8 p.m. performance of Casa Mañana’s production of Matilda: the Musical. Casa Mañana Theatre is in the hot seat for replacing musicians with prerecorded tracks for the mainstage production of Matilda, a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the theater and Local 72-147. The union has […]

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Texas AFL-CIO PRO Act Rally Highlights San Antonio Musicians’ Struggles

Major Texas unions, labor, and progressive groups gathered in San Antonio on February 18 to make noise for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and to deride its number one opponent in the US House, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-D), who has come under fire for his record of voting against the interests of […]

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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Expands Fellowship for Black Musicians

Toward the end of December, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) announced a significant expansion of its preprofessional fellowship for Black musicians. Since 2007, the program has selected a new musician every two years for performance opportunities and professional development training. Now, multiple musicians will be accepted and provided with more extensive developmental support. The program […]

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Jazz, Education, and Unionism as a Way of Life ‑‑ Dr. James H. Patterson

It’s not common knowledge, even among AFM members, why some locals have hyphenated numbers. The system dates back to the days of segregation in this country: in the case of Atlanta, Local 148 was designated the Black local and 462 was for whites. The hyphens are an indication that these locals ultimately integrated and merged […]

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Performer Keeps the Fun in Music for Kids

After nearly half a century of music education, Allan “Al” Hirsch of Local 76-494 (Seattle, WA) has firm and well-informed opinions about the best way to approach it. His first rule is to keep it fun. “Basically, I teach singing to children,” he says. “Kids learn how to do that naturally, but over time they […]

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